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Dol Guldur

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This article is about the stronghold in Mirkwood. For the MERP supplement, see Dol Guldur (book).
Dol Guldur
General Information
LocationSouthern Mirkwood
RegionsDol Guldur, a subpower of Sauron in Mordor
People and History
InhabitantsNecromancer and his servants; Khamûl
EventsAttack on Dol Guldur, Fall of Dol Guldur
GalleryImages of Dol Guldur
Dol Guldur Location

Dol Guldur ("Hill of Sorcery" in Sindarin)[1], also called "the dungeons of the Necromancer",[2][3] was a stronghold of Sauron located in the south of Mirkwood.



Dol Guldur was established by Sauron after his return to Middle-earth somewhere after T.A. 1000, although his identity was hidden and was known as the Necromancer (it was in 1050 that a shadow fell upon Greenwood and it began to be called Mirkwood[4]). Dol Guldur was originally known as Amon Lanc ("Bald Hill")[5], and had been the capital of Oropher's Silvan Elves, who had departed north to the Dark Mountains[6] (later known as the Mountains of Mirkwood). After Sauron took over Amon Lanc, Thranduil son of Oropher led his people over the Forest River, where they remained.[7]

The Council of the Wise long feared the Necromancer might indeed be Sauron, and in 2063 Gandalf went to Dol Guldur, and Sauron, not yet powerful, fled to the East. In 2460 Sauron returned there, just as the One Ring was found by Sméagol the Stoor.[4] However, the Ring disappeared with Sméagol under the Misty Mountains.

In T.A. 2510 when Eorl the Young was leading his riders to the Battle of the Field of Celebrant he steered his force westward to avoid the dark shadow and cloud that flowed from Dol Guldur. The riders entered a golden mist that came from Lórien to the west that contended with the darkness coming from Mirkwood.[8]

In 2845 Thráin II, King of Durin's folk-in-exile and holder of the last of the Seven Rings of the Dwarves, was imprisoned in Dol Guldur's dungeons. In {TA|2850|n}} Gandalf again entered Dol Guldur, found the dying Thráin, and Gandalf was entrusted with the map and key to give to Thorin, although Thráin could not tell him his own or his son's name before he died. Gandalf confirmed that Sauron was the master of Dol Guldur at that time.[4]

Gandalf returned to the White Council and urged an attack on Dol Guldur, but was overruled by Saruman, who had begun searching for the One Ring in the area by then. In T.A. 2941 Saruman finally agreed to an attack, which occurred at the same time as the Quest of Erebor. This was carefully planned by Gandalf, so that Sauron and Smaug could not assist each other, as otherwise they could easily have done. Sauron fled to Mordor, his plans now ready. Dol Guldur was reoccupied by three of the Nazgûl in 2951,[4] one of whom was Khamûl, the second chief.[9]

During the War of the Ring, the forces of Dol Guldur made three assaults upon Lórien, causing grievous damage to the outlying woodlands, but were driven back each time by the power of Nenya which only Sauron himself could have overcome. Dol Guldur was finally destroyed and cleansed by the Elves of Lórien, led by Galadriel, after Sauron's fall.[10]

Other Versions of the Legendarium

The original name of Dol Guldur was Dol Dúgol, and on Tolkien's first map for The Lord of the Rings the hill was located much farther east than its later location (in square M-15 of Map II).[11] Christopher Tolkien explained that Map II had faint traces of green which suggested that Mirkwood originally extended farther to the east too.[12] The name Dol Dúgol was stricken out and the hill was moved to its later location on this map, but its name became Dol Dúghul before finally changing to Dol Guldur.[11]

Portrayal in Adaptations

Dol Guldur's appearance in The Lord of the Rings Online (main gates in front, the chief tower in the background).

2004: The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring:

Dol Guldur makes appearance during both "Good" and "Evil" campaigns as a site of a major battleground.

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II:

Dol Guldur is commanded by the Mouth of Sauron, not Khamûl. Dol Guldur (or Mordor itself) sent a huge army of Orcs, Haradrim, and Trolls to assault Erebor. The attack fails, and the Mouth of Sauron is killed along with all the attacking force. Dol Guldur is then itself attacked by a combined army of Elves and Dwarves led by Elrond, Arwen, Glorfindel, Glóin, and Dáin Ironfoot. After a long and hard struggle, the Elves and Dwarves finally overrun Dol Guldur and lay waste to the evil that dwelled there, ending Sauron's war campaign in the North once and for all.
In the Evil Campaign, the Goblins from Dol Guldur eliminate the Elves and the Ents that guard the Forest Road in Mirkwood.

2007: The Lord of the Rings Online:

Dol Guldur is a central point in the game's second expansion, The Lord of the Rings Online: Siege of Mirkwood. In its storyline, Celeborn and Galadriel organize a military campaign against Dol Guldur while the Fellowship still resides in Lothlorien (not to be confused with the later battle during the War of the Ring). The announced goal is to saw chaos into Orc forces by destroying as many of their troops, weapons and supplies as possible, to delay an inevitable assault upon Lothlorien. The true purpose, however, is to distract the Eye of Sauron from the company departing down the shores of Anduin. An assault by the Golden Host of the Galadhrim is successful despite minor losses and after establishing multiple camps throughout southern Mirkwood arrives at the walls of the fortress itself. However, without the White Lady they do not have the means of bringing down the walls, so the Elves prepare to swiftly fall back beyond Anduin before the main forces of the Enemy arrive. The players can also explore multiple locations within the Fortress, among the the Necromancer's Gate, the Ringwraith's Lair, the Dungeons of Dol Guldur, the chief tower named Barad Guldur and Sammath Gul - the chambers once occupied by the Dark Lord himself.

See Also


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Index of Names"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party"
  3. "The sins of Middle Earth, Tolkien's use of Allegory". Chapter 6. Greenwood Press. pp. 86.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields", note 12, p. 280
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Disaster of the Gladden Fields", note 14, p. 280
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix B: The Sindarin Princes of the Silvan Elves", p. 259
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan", p. 298
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Hunt for the Ring", note 1, p. 352
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
  11. 11.0 11.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "The First Map of The Lord of the Rings", "Map II", p. 305
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "The First Map of The Lord of the Rings", "The original element in the First Map", p. 298